Hall Pass – Mitch Richmond
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2014, which will be immortalized in Springfield, Mass. on Friday, features four players with ties to the Warriors—Alvin Attles, Sarunas Marciulionis, Mitch Richmond and Guy Rodgers. We’ll take a look at a few notes and numbers that helped lead to their induction to the Hall, courtesy of @GSWStats.
Last but not least: Mitch Richmond, who began his career with the Warriors as part of an exciting trio, along with Chris Mullin and Tim Hardaway, known as Run TMC.
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
The fifth overall pick of the 1988 NBA Draft, Richmond teamed with Chris Mullin to help the Warriors improve by a total of 23 wins over the previous season and return to the playoffs after a year’s absence, thanks in no small part to the rookie out of Kansas State. Richmond averaged 22.0 points, 5.9 rebounds and 4.2 assists in 1988-89, joining Michael Jordan, Sidney Wicks, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Earl Monroe, Oscar Robertson and Elgin Baylor as the only rookies to average at least 22/5/4, something no first-year player has done since. Following the season, Richmond was honored as the NBA’s Rookie of the Year, one of six Warriors ever to win the award (Woody Sauldsberry, Wilt Chamberlain, Rick Barry, Keith Wilkes, Chris Webber).
After a standout debut season, the real excitement began the following year, when Golden State added Tim Hardaway to the fold to form the celebrated Run TMC trio. The Warriors offense averaged over 116 points per game in each of Richmond’s three seasons with the club, boasting the league’s highest scoring offense in the first year of the Run TMC threesome (1989-90) and finishing second in 1990-91. The trio combined to average 61.9 points per game in 1989-90, and topped that by combining for an incredible 72.5 points the following season, with all three players scoring at least 22 points per.
ROCK CAN SCORE THE ROCK
In Warriors history, only three players have begun their career by averaging at least 22 points per game in each of their first three seasons: Joe Fulks, Chamberlain and Richmond. In fact, only 15 players in NBA history have accomplished the feat, and only David Robinson and Shaquille O’Neal have completed the task since Richmond. Richmond’s career scoring average with the Warriors (22.7 points) ranks fifth in franchise history behind only Chamberlain, Barry, World B. Free and Paul Arizin.
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Following a trade to Sacramento, Richmond continued his scoring ways, averaging at least 21 points per game in all seven seasons with the Kings. The list of players who have averaged at least 21 points per in each of their first 10 seasons? Oscar Robertson, Abdul-Jabbar, Jordan, O’Neal, Allen Iverson and Richmond.
While his Warriors career produced many highlights, he spent the majority of his career in Sacramento, where he was named in an NBA All-Star in six consecutive campaigns (1993-98). In each of those last five seasons, he finished among the NBA’s top 10 scoring leaders. Just as with the Warriors, Richmond’s scoring average falls in the top 5 in Kings history, behind only Robertson, Tiny Archibald and Webber. Richmond went on to play three more seasons with the Wizards before ending his career with an NBA championship ring as a member of the 2001-02 Lakers.
GOING FOR GOLD
Richmond’s Hall-worthy NBA resume is further bolstered by a pair of Olympic medals. As an amateur in 1988, he helped Team USA to a bronze medal, returning to the Games eight years later as part of Dream Team II, which captured gold in 1996. Richmond posted 9.8 points for the ’96 squad that won all eight of its games by at least 20 points.